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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Come into My garden...

Red finger at the apex of cemetery pointing to Gihon Spring 
Jewish scholars related the 'neck' to the Temple's location in Jerusalem. King Solomon's Song of Songs (4:4) can be translated from its Hebrew origin to: "Your neck is the tower of David, built as an ornament." Rabbi Chaim Vital, a student of 15th century Rabbi, Yitzchak Luria, known as The Ari quoted this verse to explain the secret meaning of Exodus 12:40 which describes the children of Israel as they left their state of exile; "And the dwelling of the Israelite's in Egypt was 430 years."

To elucidate Rabbi Vital attributes five disciplines that distinguish God from His inconceivable state to that in the natural order. Rabbi Vital explains that God uses His name "Elo(h)im" which connotes discipline to represent His natural manifestation. Because Hebrew letters are also numerical, the value of this name equals 86. Rabbi Vital brings this together by multiplying the 5 states of discipline by 86 which equals 430. Moreover, 86, God's constricted state also numerically equates with the Hebrew word - 'hateva' meaning "The Nature."  

A few lines after the Song of Songs quote relating the tower of David to 'the neck', the following line appears; "I have come into My garden, My sister, My bride". Rabbi Menachem Schneerson known as - The Rebbe, drew inspiration from this for his inaugural recital, Basi LeGani, the last work by his father-in-law before his death. A year after, The Rebbe presented his recital on his acceptance as the seventh and final Rebbe of Lubavitch. Basi LeGani describes the brilliance of release from exile relating its realization to the Temple in which God's name, in His ultimate 'inconceivable' state, is exclusively revealed. For an individual, the physical Temple would simultaneously be the exclusive spiritual place in which God, in His ultimate, inclusive state revealed one's truest, most soulful purpose in the physical world. 

The neck is the body's constricted conduit between the head and the heart. At the front it houses, vessels for speech, nourishment, blood and breath (known as Joseph), at the rear the protective spine feeds brain signals to the heart and body (known as Pharaoh). In the time it takes for the brain's signal to pass through the neck Jewish mystics suggest the transfer of thought to physical action is exposed to potential disruption. For example, synchronizing quickly formed brain signals to form speech/words in the larynx and mouth is often problematic. Overcoming this potential shortcoming is a free choice, moreover it is a choice in which one's state-of-mind is critical to the outcome. 

In these verses, the Hebrew word used for the neck's ornament is 'talpiot', which is allegorically expressed by the sages as a contraction of two words that mean, "the heap (that was and will again be) beautiful" or "the mount (which and to which) all mouths (will) pray." The mystical interpretation of the ornament as an adornment to the neck could fill many books, but I wish to focus here only on its related geo-physical implication. 

In Jerusalem's City of David there exists a 'heap' or 'mound,' the subject of much excavation over the past 30 years. Today, this heap is known as the 'tower' and it is built over Jerusalem's only perennial spring known as Gihon. Recent excavations at this location revealed archaeological features so powerful they could literally rock the world. The findings contain bronze-age bedrock structures extensively used for sacrificial worship and, fortified to protect their sanctity. Around these structures Jerusalem grew into the city it is today. 

At this excavation a small, single monument, a sliver of stone, remarkably (since no other like it has survived) remains standing after more than 3500 years. Supported in a frame of 12 stones, it marks the spot where Jacob slept on the night he left Israel, exiled while fleeing his brother and the spot where he returned to accept the name Israel. Whilst this small stone is indeed monumental, its source (according to Midrash) would have been extracted from the adjacent fully intact altar ramp. This altar was used well before Abraham offered his son Isaac, and that makes the site earth-shattering because, according to the scholarly works, yet contrary to all expectations, it would also mark the spot for Jerusalem's third and final Temple

Topographically, the exposed bedrock of this sacred mountain, visible in its entirety in the bronze-age, would have resembled a head and neck when viewed by Abraham on his southern approach. Additionally, the location of the tower or fortress of of David's citadel at the present excavation would approximate the place on which an ornament adorning the neck would lie. King David re-conquered this mountain on which a fortified city had previously been founded. From the City of David, he planned the first Temple, never knowing, realizing or revealing the true location of its altar. David's son, Solomon, eventually built the Temple where his father planned, on the head of the mountain within the approximate boundaries of today's Temple Mount where the second temple was also built. 

If we pay attention to the overwhelming preponderance of evidence from the Bible's exegesis, the location of the tower of David as the neck's ornament marks "the heap (that was and will again be) beautiful" or "the mount (which and to which) all mouths pray", yet this is the site which King David denied us when determining his temple plans. Reconstructing the evidence, it is likely that, ~200 years after King David, King Hezekiah realized David had moved the site. He discovered this while diverting the water of the Gihon, extending the city walls, and he built around the tower of David to mark, protect and hide this holy site for future generations. In doing so, his grief almost killed him. 

The shocking archaeological revelations at this location will surely be a significant catalyst to change the status quo and existing states of mind just as The Rebbe rescued orthodox Judaism from its post holocaust demise. As such it presents enormous difficulties and challenges especially among religious Jews who are likely to dismiss this revelation reverting to their customary orthodox interpretations of the Temple's location. In many ways our realization of the rectified state-of-mind and its expression is the final redemption in which we all accept that knowledge constitutes a completion of our exiled state. If we learn to embrace all inputs as a holistic convergence, a unification of opposites, we get to experience and realize our ultimate and aggregate potential. 

Mystics and scholars of the Hebrew Torah who left a trail of clues did so to promote this rectified state of exile emphasizing the holistic perspective: A world devoid of happenstance where every occurrence has its Divine purpose. Their writings stare in Israel's face, unequivocally declaring its sole and exclusive, indigenous right to the garden, the land of its people. Other than for momentary abandonment's through exile, because of aggression against Israel, since the time of Joshua more than 3000 years ago Jerusalem has been kept by Jews. Now Israel and its leaders must boldly pursue its inherent, often unexpected wisdom to dismiss with conviction foreign leaders who demand Israel's exiled state continues. Now is the time to finally take its rightful place as the nation by whom other nations are inspired and to complete the glorious mission started by Jacob so many years ago.